Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Currency Markets and the Disaster in Japan


I’ve been receiving questions about this week’s rather dramatic appreciation of the yen. Central banks around the world have been intervening today to prevent further volatility in exchange rates, but that still doesn’t explain exactly why currency traders have been so eager to buy yen this week.

There are rarely easy answers to questions involving exchange rate movements. However, I have shared a few thoughts on the subject over at The Street Light.

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Japan May Have Reached Point 7

I give up. It was perfectly obvious what was happening at Fukushima on Saturday afternoon, when I posted bullet points at Skippy: there was going to be a major cleanup cost and the live reactors were not salvageable, but nothing fatal to many was loose in the atmosphere yet.

Which is why I followed up here on Sunday with “use saltwater as the best option.” Once you accept that you’re doing damage control, do it efficiently and don’t worry about the sunk cost.

But evacuation and problems with all three plants that were offline at the time of the earthquake moves to stage seven, which was summarized by Pink Floyd:

Though even that may be pessimistic; Al Jazzera English (via their Twitter feed) reports that the heroes of this entire episode—the unnamed workers who are trying to avert serious leakage into the environment—are back at work after having temporarily been evacuated to a bunker.

Medicins Sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders)

Shelterbox

Global Giving

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